Harry Stein in City Journal:
Seinfeld described how an innocuous comic observation he made at a recent performance—that, when scrolling through names on their cell phones, people assume the imperious air of “a gay French king”; illustrating with an insouciant flick of an outstretched finger—he instantly felt the room go tense, as the audience silently responded: “What are you talking about ‘gay’? What are you doing? What do you mean?’ And I thought, ‘Are you kidding me?’” He added that he “could imagine a time when people would say that it is offensive to suggest that a gay person moves their hands in a flourishing motion and you now need to apologize.” Imagine it? That time is here and has been for quite a while. Like most of America, Seinfeld simply hadn’t been paying attention.
While this is obviously a fight on principle, it is just as obviously intensely personal. As Blazing Saddles marked its 40th anniversary in 2014, Mel Brooks, himself a liberal, bemoaned that racial sensitivities would preclude the film being made today—and it’s a real question whether some of Seinfeld’s most memorable episodes would pass muster in what conservative pundit Guy Benson aptly terms today’s culture of shut-up. Just off the top of my head, as a fan of the show, there were the following:
George, desperate to prove his racial bona fides by producing a black friend, seeks to befriend any black guy he can find, including a random guy on the street.
Kramer, refusing to wear a red ribbon on the AIDS walk, is set upon by a pair of gay bullies.
At the Puerto Rican Day Parade, Kramer accidentally sets fire to the Puerto Rican flag, and is attacked by a mob, including the same pair.